By Llara Munn
An athlete with a positive mind set and a good dose of self belief will see improvements in their lifts, their engine, their gymnastics, their body size and shape long before an athlete who is constantly negative, puts themselves down or looks for the approval of others.
I’m sure we all know someone in our box who walks up to the board and moans loudly about whatever is on there. Whether it is too much running, a weight they can’t lift or move they don’t like, there will always be a reason and excuse before the workout has even started as to why they think they will not perform well.
An athlete that sets themselves up for failure
There is perhaps no surprise that these same athletes seem to be the ones who do not improve at the same rate as everyone else. This should be very obvious, but in case you haven’t made the connection, an athlete that sets themselves up for failure quite often achieves what they set out to do just as much as an athlete who believes they can “smash” a WOD often gets a better than average score.
As a Crossfit coach the most frustrating and disappointing thing to hear is an athlete constantly putting themselves down. Regardless of the reason, some do it for attention and praise, some do it out of fear and lack of self belief, some do it to give themselves an excuse in case they do not perform well, the outcome is never positive. “Oh this wod has running in it, I am so bad at running, I will never finish! Does the wod have a time cap? Lol- I’ll need it”. This person has already decided that they will not push themselves on the run, no matter how much encouragement or motivation they receive- it is a self fulfilling prophecy.
Not only is it a massive detriment to the athlete, it is also draining for all the people around them who want them to do well. Who try and help them by bigging them up and telling them how great they are and how it is all in their head. It is time consuming for the coach who has to spend time coaxing an athlete to use the appropriate weight for a workout and become a life coach helping them to overcome every Crossfit workout like it is a massive life event, when failure may mean the athlete never returns. Instead of spending their time more usefully helping the newer athlete with form and technique, this is perhaps the most problematic issuefor a coach with a self-defeated athlete.
A positive athlete walks into the box with purpose and hope.
They are there to spend an hour doing something good for their body and mind, and in most cases, the workout itself is not an overly important part of their day. As long as they got a sweat on, had a laugh and did the best they could they tend to go home happy and probably are the people who get the most out of Crossfit. The only difference between this person and the one who obsesses with the board, their scores and all the things they suck at is that the positive Crossfit athlete will see the improvements the self-defeated athlete longs for and desires.
In the end it doesn’t matter if your running isn’t the best. Chances are when you first started Crossfit you couldn’t run the 400m or even 200m route without walking some of it, so if you can make it that distance without stopping- quit your bitching! You are a work in progress, some of that progress will be easy, some will be hard, but if you set yourself up for failure, tell yourself all your weaknesses and make sure everyone else knows too and constantly look for approval from others then you, my friend, are ensuring your worst fears. No one can make you a better athlete, not all the praise and hopes of your friends and Crossfit coaches will lift the heavy bar with good form for you, will get your toes to touch the bar, or will make your legs carry you on your run if you have already given up.
Walk into the box with purpose and hope. Do not complain about the workout. Do not tell everyone within ear shot how terrible your snatch is. Don’t take away the attention of your coach from others who really need it if your only aim is to feel better about yourself.
Self-belief comes from achievement and achievement cannot come without hope and courage.
Have both, because at the end of the day you are only going to the gym and the consequences of a poor WOD time are neither dire nor life threatening, actually chances are no one noticed besides you and everyone still thinks you’re awesome!